SDC 06/04/01: "Technical Difficulties"

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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 9:45 PM
Friends, I've had some interesting days at theme parks, but I don't think any have been as interesting or as frustrating as my "Black Monday" at SDC. I exited a few rides in a very new way to me.

My brothers and I journeyed to SDC on Monday and arrived at the park at 9:30. Wildfire opened at about 9:45, and we rode on the second train of the day. For some reason or another, Wildfire only had one train operation until about 2:00. After our ride, the line was quite long and slow moving with only one train, so we headed over to Fire in the Hole.

This is where the fun begins. Fire in the Hole was completely empty when we arrived. We hopped into the back two rows and got on board for what we thought would be several consecutive rides. Boy were we wrong. After the "barrel of laughs," you make a right turn by a baldknobber with a noose. When we reached this point, the electric hum that accompanies Fire in the Hole died, and so did our movement. We sat there for a few minutes, and then the lights came on and we were greeted by a ride op. The ride op said that the ride had broken down, and she released our lapbars and led us out. Very strange was the walk out of there. Seeing the completely dark tunnels lit up was one of the most odd experiences I have ever had. I had a great look at the track, and we got to walk through the shop as well. I was so intrigued that it didn't bother me that I hadn't ridden.

With fog, overcast, and dampness still in full force, we decided to skip Buzzsaw Falls. We then proceded over to Thunderation, which oddly was running only one train. We rode in the front car without incident, and then headed to the Shootout, which also ran normally. I'm glad to say that I destroyed my brothers with 17,300 points :-)

We then figured we'd head back over to Wildfire, which was still a thirty minute wait with one train. We approached the loading dock, and were to be on the next train out, when they closed the ride due to sensor problems. They gave us exit passes to come back later in the day, so all was well.

We then journeyed to the logging area, and since the sun had poked its head out, we rode Buzzsaw Falls. I think this ride is great fun, but I still wish the coaster portion was longer.

Fire in the Hole called once again, and we rode it several times and then decided to eat. The Sausage Skillet Mix in the Lumberjack Camp was delicious as usual. By this time, it was 1:00, and we were rather warm. We headed back over to Buzzsaw Falls. The line had grown to about thirty minutes since they were running three boats. Once again, as we were about to board, the ride broke down. The ops announced that it would be ten minutes max for the delay. After thirty minutes had passed, the tried a test run, and they then announced it would be an hour longer. Disgruntled at wasting an hour, we headed back to Wildfire.

Wildfire was running two trains, and the line was only about fifteen minutes. We rode six times without incident, and then the real kicker of the day came. We boarded the train, which dispatched normally, and we journeyed about halfway up the lifthill, when we halted. I figured that one of the ops had seen someone tinkering with a belt and had stopped the ride. We were greeted by a ride op telling us that the ride had lost power. After about ten minutes, they decided that the power would be out a while, and they didn't want to run the first train after gaining electricity with passengers aboard. So row by row, they released the restraints and escorted us down the lifthill. Being in the seventh row, we were the second to go down. My fear of heights being what it is, I was much more nervous about this walk down than any ride I've ever ridden. We had a great view of the ride walking down on the station side stairs, and I got a good look at a beemer chainlift and all its gizmos and gadgets.

We figured that Wildfire had just lost power. However, we walked by a still Plunge pool and realized that Wildfire wasn't the only ride to be stricken. Fire in the Hole was down as well, but the real sight was Buzzsaw Falls. Evidently, then the power goes out, the ride loses all of its water. And as it happened, a boat was dropping down the hill at the time of power outage. So the boat had hit the water, and stopped, while the water then proceeded to drain. The mechanics, from what a ride op told me, had to pull the boat over to this metal platform once the water level dropped, and then they walked the riders off. Annoying was the fact that those four rides were down, yet strange and intriguing as well was the weird chain of events as well.

I had a prior engagement at 6:00 p.m. in Springfield, so we decided to hit the road. Besides, we figured things would get worse if we had stayed. This was an atypical day at the normally reliable SDC. While it was not my favorite by far, it will stick in my mind forever. And how many people can say that they were walked off of two coasters in one day? :-)

According to the "official" count, next year's new coaster lineup will feature 17 Arrow 4-Ds, 21 TA2Ks, 34 B&M floorless's, 17 Intamin Gigas, 12 beemer flyers, and 247 CCIs. And oh yeah, CP will receive one of all of these.

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